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Match Reports

Match Report - Swindon Town 1-1 Rovers

22 January 2022

The spoils are shared in Swindon

A goal that was claimed by Aaron Collins, Sam Finley and Connor Taylor saw Bristol Rovers secure a deserved point at Swindon in the division's early kick-off.

Boss Joey Barton made three changes to the side that beat Hartlepool at The Mem last week. In came Hoole, Connolly and Finley for Kilgour, Anderson and Harries. There was also a return to the matchday squad for Leon Clarke.

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After a bright start from the hosts, that saw a shot from Gladwin fly over the bar, it was Rovers who had a great chance to score after just nine minutes. Superb work from the in-form Aaron Collins down the right saw Ryan Loft inches away from opening his Gas account as he slid in at the back post.

Collins then picked the ball up a minute later after Rovers had dispossessed Gladwin in the centre-circle, but the number 10 dragged his shot wide of Ward's right-hand post.

Out of nowhere, Simpson picked up a loose ball in the 16th minute and curled a left-foot shot wide of Belshaw's diving frame and into the bottom right-hand corner of his net.

Simpson almost turned provider three minutes later as his low cross from the right was scrambled away by the Rovers defence, with the dangerous McKirdy lurking near the goal.

Connor Taylor was shown the game's first caution for a tackle on Simpson as the hosts' number 9 threatened to break clear on the halfway line.

Rovers forced their first corner of the afternoon after 28 minutes. It was cleared but Williams then slid in late on Evans to give the away side a free-kick thirty yards from goal. Evans took it himself but Taylor's header was easily gathered by Ward.

In the 31st minute, Sam Finley was booked for a crunching tackle on Williams. Luca Hoole then won Rovers another corner and this time Evans' delivery was cleared to Finley and his cross was over Taylor's head, but Collins was on hand to flick the ball home.

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It was no more than Rovers deserved as they had been enjoying a good spell of possession since falling behind. Loft was next in referee Nield's book in the 39th minute after a late challenge on O'Brien.

Collins then broke down the right from a beautiful crossfield Finley ball but his lay-off to Evans was blocked by the Swindon defence. As the half drew to a close, Rovers had a free-kick on the left after Nicholson was hauled to the floor. Evans whipped it in, but it was cleared.

The second half began with a chance for Nicholson, but his low drive was claimed by Ward. At the other end, Simpson was flagged offside as the game continued apace. The 54th minute saw the tackle of the season as skipper Coutts and Swindon's Reed contested a 50-50 that must surely have been heard back at The Mem.

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Swindon's Iandolo was cautioned for a late tackle on Nicholson, before Ryan Loft broke into the box on the hour mark, but his first touch just took him away from goal and his cross was cleared.

Swindon had two efforts at goal in the 66th minute. First, Simpson curled an effort just wide from twenty yards, before strike partner McKirdy's shot from a similar position was collected by Belshaw in the centre of his goal.

Collins then won The Gas a corner after the ball was given away by the Swindon defence. Evans' delivery was launched clear and McKirdy picked it up in an advanced position; a fine block from Hoole snuffed out the danger.

Skipper Paul Coutts was booked for a tackle on Williams, who was spending more time on the floor than on his feet.

Rovers had a four-on-three breakaway in the 75th minute, but Odimayo's last-ditch tackle just thwarted Nicholson. The Gas were exerting some pressure and Evans' drive was deflected behind for a corner in the 81st minute. 

Joey Barton made the game's first substitution in the 84th minute as Thomas replaced Collins up front as Rovers looked to claim all three points in front of their travelling army of 2,473 fans. There was a welcome injury-time return to action for Leon Clarke, as the number nine replaced Nicholson, and surprisingly not for the bandaged Loft, who had been felled by Conroy.

Swindon had a last-gasp chance to snatch it but Reed's free-kick sailed straight into Belshaw's midriff. There was just time for Hoole to be booked and then Loft to be replaced by Anderson, before Nield brought an end to a pulsating affair at the County Ground.

Next up for the Gas is a mid-week journey to Scunthorpe United on Tuesday (19:45pm KO).

Swindon: Ward, Odimayo, Iandolo, Conroy, Gladwin, Simpson, McKirdy, O'Brien, Williams, Hunt, Reed.

Subs: Wollacott, Lyden, Mitchell-Lawson, East, Aguiar, Parsons, Dabre.

Rovers: Belshaw, Connolly, Grant, Finley, Collins (Thomas 84), Nicholson (Clarke 90), Coutts (c), Taylor, Evans, Hoole, Loft (Anderson 90). 

Subs: Jaakkola, Anderton, Spence, Pitman, Thomas (84), Anderson (90), L. Clarke (90).

Referee: Tom Nield.

Attendance: 12,695

2,473


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